Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
08/26/16 – 552 – The Tower of Babel
(Note: Sorry about all the typos yesterday – I had to do a sleep study the night before so of course, I was far from rested when I wrote the devotion. After a few more hours of sleep, I re-read it and saw how bad it was. Oh well – at least it got out there, right?)
Yesterday we finished our story of Noah and the Flood, and followed his family tree as it branched out into many nations, including that of Shem whose line eventually led to Abraham. However, before we leave Genesis, we can’t ignore one last brief but important story. We pick up here:
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
For me, the first question that comes to mind is the usual – why? Why build such a monstrosity? This tower so tall that it would reach all the way to heaven? Why not keep on doing what they were supposed to do – which was to multiply and fill the earth?
The answer, I think, is in verse 4 and ironically shows the same kind of conflicting emotions many of us still struggle with today. The first and most obvious is pride. They wanted to “make a name for ourselves”. The second though, may not be quite so apparent. They also wanted to “not be scattered over the face of the whole earth”. In a word, I believe that they were just insecure.
Prideful and insecure at the same time? Do those two go together? I think they do. In fact, I think a lot of people put on a false front – act as though they are the best at something, or the most prideful just to cover up their insecurities. If you can make others around you feel more insecure than you do, then they’ll be less likely to challenge you. On anything. That doesn’t seem to be a bad plan, in that it often works when dealing with people. However, it was a little different in this case.
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel — because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. NIV
The lesson here is pretty simple. People have, and continue to try to find ways to get to heaven that are basically end-runs around God’s plan. Why? I don’t know, really. If you are obedient to Him, and live your life as He commands and teaches, you will live a better life anyway!
There are hundreds if not thousands of people out there who will teach you ‘easy’ paths to heaven, if you’ll just buy their DVD set, or give to their ‘church, or buy their books, or whatever. But the Bible is clear:
“ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
I almost wrote that there are no easy paths – but then it occurred to me – Jesus is the easy path. Let’s just give Him the glory due this morning, shall we? What a gift He has given us – an “easy yoke”.